Today I would like to recommend a book.
Roads and bridges, the unseen labour behind our digital infrastructure is a really revealing read, be it that you are interested in Free and Open Software or not.
The author, Nadia Eghbal, provides a really amusing compilation of facts and anecdotes about software we all know and use everyday, and some of the history and tendencies in the software world.
To some people some sections will be more interesting than to others, and you can largely skim around the book in no particular order. The author does a very good job trying to explain all the concepts in layman terms, so many people that are not too deep into this world can also find it interesting.
Software and online services are becoming more important in our lives and there is a infrastructure that holds them that very few people even know about. There’s thousands of hours of coding, testing, maintaining as well as hosting, hardware and other costs that in many cases are run by idealistic volunteers with lots of pressure and without resources.
The book analyzes this world, its actors, their interests and incentives, and tries to find similarities to physical infrastructures in our societies, such as roads, bridges or hospitals. Under this point of view it suggests different solutions to a problem that is described as social, which is a very refreshing point of view that I never saw this well put together before.
The book is freely available here.
I hope you enjoy it.